Watch Out for Fake Ebola ‘Cures’

Scammers make their living preying on our fears. With the Ebola outbreak making headlines across the US and Canada, scammers are cashing in on our anxiety about the disease. Don’t fall for cons that claim to cure or prevent Ebola.

How the Scam Works:

You are worried about Ebola and hear about a “cure” from a friend, on social media, in an email or by web search. The product has a website that claims it can cure Ebola and prevent new infections. The site contains a lot of information about the product, including convincing testimonials. You figure it can’t hurt to give the medicine a try, so you get out your credit card.

Don’t do it! Currently there are no FDA-approved vaccines or drugs to prevent Ebola, although experimental treatments are in the early stages of development. No approved vaccines, drugs or products specifically for Ebola can be purchased online or in stores.

Peddling quack medicines isn’t the only way scammers are trying to cash in on Ebola fears. Con artists are also sending Ebola-themed emails in attempt to trick recipients into clicking on phishing links or downloading malware. Scammers are also trying to con people into donating to fake Ebola charity efforts.

How to Spot a Quack Cure: 

Spot a fraudulent health product by watching out for these red flags:

  • One product does it all… instantly. Be suspicious of products that claim to immediately cure a wide range of diseases. No one product could be effective against a long, varied list of conditions or diseases.
  • Personal testimonials instead of scientific evidence. Success stories are easy to make up and are not a substitute for scientific evidence.
  • It’s “all natural.” Just because it’s natural does not mean it’s good for you. All natural does not mean the same thing as safe.
  • The medicine is a “miracle cure.” If a real cure for a serious disease were discovered, it would be widely reported through the news media and prescribed by health professionals – not buried in print ads, TV infomercials or on websites.
  • Conspiracy theories. These statements are used to distract consumers from the obvious, common-sense questions about the so-called miracle cure.
  • Check with your doctor: If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims, check with your doctor or other health care professional first.

For More Information

Read the alert about fake Ebola treatments on the FDA’s website and on the BBB blog.  To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.

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About Emily Patterson